Alaska was an amazing trip. Often our tour guides would stop and gather wild flowers for us to examine. Many of the flowers and plants had medicinal qualities and were used by the native peoples for healing.
Also, when I boarded the ship for the cruise, my left knee was killing me. I had three sessions of acupuncture and started taking medicinal herbs. After a while, my knee was 90% better. I must report that my traditional medical doctor was not too enthusiastic about alternative medicine and herbs but, I thought, “I am the one in charge.”
Upon returning to the North Georgia Mountains in the Southern Appalachians, I discovered that the Institute for Continuous Learning at Young Harris College in Young Harris, GA was offering a six session course on the “Medicinal Garden.” Hmm! Here we go again—plants with medicinal qualities. Maybe I should take the course. It was a good decision. After all the “tea leaves” all around me were introducing me to the new world of medicinal plants. The Southern Appalachians are blessed with an abundance of healing plants. The Native Cherokee Indians knew this and used the gifts from the Creator for healing.
I am learning so much. In the wake of the heavy doses of the allergens we encountered in the Yukon Territory and Alaska my sinuses have been bothering me. At the last class, I asked Jennifer, the teacher, if there were herbal remedies for sinusitis. She gave me a book and I found a recipe for herbal tea. She then took me out to her garden and gave my three of the four herbs I needed for an herbal tea remedy. I brought the herbs home and hung them up to dry on the shower rod in the bathroom on the lower floor. It is cool, mostly dark and, above all, not very humid. The guys installing our new air conditioner must have wondered what was going on; however, the marijuana police have not arrived yet.
After a few days, I gathered the Golden Rod and the Echinacea, a big bowl, some plastic bags and headed to my back deck to garble the herbs. Garbling is removing the leaves, flowers and fruit from the branches.
Garbling was akin to a mystical experience because I felt at one with the plants in my hands. I could feel the crispness of the dried Golden Rod leaves. I could smell the gentle aroma of the Golden Rod. Likewise with the Echinacea.
As I garbled, I was aware of something much deeper. These herbs were a gift from the Creator. We do not always have to get a prescription and run to a pharmacy to get manufactured drugs. We are surrounded by abundance. We are surrounded by gifts from the Creator that are meant for our nourishment and healing. We are one with creation and the universe and the creator is still at working bringing creation to its fullness. We are gifted with abundance and blessing.
As I was garbling, people were still hard at work trying to contain the damage from the BP oil leak which is devastating the Gulf. The ocean is befouled. Fish and birds are covered in oil. Human beings have lost their lifelong work harvesting the bounty of the Gulf. Some simply say, “Accidents happen” and venture forth on the next pillage of the earth’s resources. Others understand the delicate balance that exists in creation and know that “Drill, baby, drill now for cheap oil” has the potential to destroy the abundance around us. The Gulf has a long road to recovery. The Exxon Valdez spill which was of lesser magnitude, happened twenty years ago. One tour guide told us that, if you dig a few feet into the beach sand in Alaska, you will still today find pooled oil.
We need to reconnect with the Creator and creation. Gathering, garbling and using medicinal plants reconnects us to the abundance that is our gift.